spawn

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English[edit]

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Etymology[edit]

Recorded since 1413; from Middle English spawne, spawnen, from Anglo-Norman espaundre, from Old French espandre, from Latin expandere (stretch out", "spread out).

Pronunciation[edit]

Verb[edit]

spawn (third-person singular simple present spawns, present participle spawning, simple past and past participle spawned)

  1. (transitive) To produce or deposit (eggs) in water.
  2. (transitive) To generate, bring into being, especially non-mammalian beings in very large numbers.
  3. (transitive) To bring forth in general.
  4. (transitive) To induce (aquatic organisms) to spawn
  5. (transitive) To plant with fungal spawn
  6. (intransitive) To deposit (numerous) eggs in water.
    • 2014 April 20, Richard Conniff, The New York Times[1]:
      Alewives are anadromous fish: Born in freshwater, they spend their lives in the ocean, returning annually to their birthplaces to spawn.
  7. (intransitive) To reproduce, especially in large numbers.
  8. (ergative, video games, of a character or object) (To cause) to appear spontaneously in a game at a certain point and time.

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Noun[edit]

spawn (plural spawn)

  1. The numerous eggs of an aquatic organism.
  2. Mushroom mycelium prepared for (aided) propagation.
  3. (by extension, sometimes derogatory) Any germ or seed, even a figurative source; offspring.
  4. (horticulture) The buds or branches produced from underground stems.
  5. (video games) The location in a game where characters or objects spontaneously appear.

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